First, to all who have suggested additional categories: thanks, they’ve been dutifully logged for consideration during the committee meeting at the Double Down in Vegas.

And yes, we’re intending low quality video of the event to be posted somewhere.  Perhaps on Rocco’s blog.

—art: Admirable that you want to defend Rocco by saying his embarrassment happened years ago, but Rocco’s hawking cat food was not only embarrassing it was recent.

—lipsmakin: the whole tragedy of Rocco is that he COULD cook, was one of the most astonishing talents I’d encountered when i profiled him for gourmet.  but even then it was clear he wanted recognition more than he wanted to cook. the reason why Tony is not a tragedy is that he can’t cook his way out of a paper bag, never could, so we’re lucky he’s finally doing something useful with his life.  tony’s story is a triumph–like winning three golds at the chefs’ special olympics.

—French Laundry at Home: I too have been amazed by all the blubbering on reality cooking shows. it’s so embarrassing.  hope they don’t catch John Besh, who fought in desert storm, crying over Andrew Knowlton‘s harsh judgment of his jambalaya.  next iron chef america airs a week from tomorrow–i’ve seen a cut of ep 1 and it’s decent, thank god. (ed levine did a good interview with Alton Brown, host and chef gadfly on the show.)

—NR: I would just copy verbatim the keller bio chapter from soul of a chef and turn it in. i won’t tell. hell, you can probably just use the "search inside" function and hit your print key–you have my permission.

—acidspit and a grammar nazi are taking me to task.  yes, i suppose "inaugural" is "correct," but the cheesiness of "first annual" is appropriate to the post.  and, grammar nazi, of all places, blogs should not be criticized for inconsistent use of the serial comma–copy editors are the bane of my existence (and frequent saviors) in my real life.  i get to do what i feel like here.

—and finally, this recent comment on the No Rez post, from Liz, clearly a soul who embraces life with vigor:

"Just got back to Chicago after my first ever trip to Cleveland – loved it so much that we decided we’d go back to "the Cleve" regularly, if only to eat at Crop again.  Seriously, the best lamb tenderloin I’ve ever eaten – and if all waiters are as hot as the one we had on Tuesday night, I’ll freaking move."

Bless you, Liz, and may you live a thousand years!


61 Wonderful responses to “Responses to Press Release! comments”

  • Sara

    Was the totally unpredictable use of capitalization in this post an assertion of your freedom to blog rights? If so, Mr. RuHlMaN, I aPpLaUd YoU.

  • rockandroller

    Thank God, Liz, that you didn’t go to any of the places Michael took Tony B in the Cleveland N.R. episode (excepting Lola from that comment) and we’re so glad to hear you’ll be coming back! I’m so glad Liz discovered that Cleveland isn’t just about kitsch and bad food, we really do have some fabulous restaurants here!

  • chefwannab

    As to the Alton Brown interview, did you catch the commenter who accuses you of an inability to be an impartial judge because of Symon being a contestant? Personally I don’t think you would have agreed to be a judge if you thought this would be a conflict or if you doubted whether you would be biased, but perhaps you’d like to address on the Serious Eats topic comments or here?

  • Carri

    I’ve been a fan of the Iron Chef from before it was americanized…my favorite was ‘piglet battle’ all those little piggies piled up…You have to admit the western version is a little mamby-pamby in comparison! That said, it’s still a great show…however, was it coincidence that John Besh’s secret ingredient in his battle with Batali was andouille sausage? and another little thing, how was it being a permanent judge on the New Iron Chef with your friend Micheal Symon competing…was it hard to be impartial?

  • KatD

    Hi Michael, Do you really get to be Paula Abdul (only…articulate…) to Andrew Knowlton’s Simon Cowell (can’t say Steingarten as he’s mainly nasty to his fellow judges). If so, I predict you will earn many new fans.

    Good question here, though, about Michael Symon. Kind of reminds me of concerns about Karine Bakhoum judging the Bobby Flay ICA battles. (Although, in a way, personal friendship might be even more compromising). I hope you’ll share some thoughts about how you kept it fair to all, in spite of the friendship.

  • Tags

    Iron Chef USA was a huge disappointment, so I was glad to see them go with better judges and a better chairman for ICA, although the ICA “chairman” is a little awkward trying to add a flourish like his “uncle” at the start of the show.

    As for Steingarten, nasty is the mean word, I prefer curmudgeon.

    When it comes to writing about food itself, Jeffrey is like a tiger stalking its prey, assiduously studying its every move and springing at the very moment of the crescendo of adrenaline. After reading his two books, I’m more than happy to indulge his little snippettes. He certainly does his homework, and it’s too much to ask for his finely tuned acumen to resist pouncing on kludgy assertions as if they were a lame zebra pony.

  • rockandroller

    Not bitter, just regretful that so many of our good restaurants weren’t featured. As I travel a lot for work, one of the few things I think we repeatedly “win” on when I compare other cities to here is our wide variety of very good food options; options in every price point and many ethnicities. It’s what I feel is one of Cleveland’s strongest and most positive aspects. I know, I know, the show wasn’t about showing Cleveland in a positive light.

  • Doodad

    My wife is from Ohio. My best friend for years is from Cleveland. I have met many good people from the great state of OH.

    I have always wanted to go, but with so many buckeyes now here in GA, I am alright. Go Browns, and take the Falcons with you!

  • A. Hiss

    Regarding the potato salad video: I can’t my door to close that way they show at the end. When my girls pinwheel out of frame the door just stays put. What’s the trick there?

  • Starla

    To all of you who whine about Rocco snarkiness.

    Bite me. Rocco will always be a whipping boy because he is. If you don’t like it, don’t read the posts. And his use of plastic surgery just makes it more fun…

    Come on Rocco, you know you had work done, just admit it and we will move on…

  • Scott

    Does anyone remember the “orginal” Iron Chef USA? Captain Kirk was the host and Todd English was Iron Chef: America. It was painful to watch.

    Rocco DiSpirito has two distinct sides, one of which appears to have had some cosmetic surgery. At times, he shows knowledge of the culinary world and seems to be “that guy that everyone raved about in New York a few years ago”. Then, you see him selling cat food or frozen dinners on tv and realize he’s still “that guy on the reality show that came across like a douchebag”.

  • ruhlman

    haven’t looked at the Serious Eats comment and I will but, regarding the conflict of interest questions, I will give a brief answer here and a more complete response later, when the show begins to air. It wasn’t as difficult as it might have been. If anything, with only one significant exception, it was more of a detriment to symon to have me on the panel.

  • Sara

    “Rocco DiSpirito has two distinct sides, one of which appears to have had some cosmetic surgery. ”

    HA! That makes him sound like Two Face, that villain Tommy Lee Jones played in the Batman movie with Val Kilmer.

    Hey Ruhlman — I have a question about the Next Iron Chef. What, exactly, were the criteria for picking contestants? Or, more specifically, did they require them to have gone on Iron Chef before and won? I think it’d be interesting, if you *had* to beat an Iron Chef before you could potentially become one.

  • KatD

    I’m not ruhlman, but I can save some time re: “Have they been on ICA before?”

    Six have, two haven’t. Besh won against Batali, but Cosentino and Des Jardins lost to him. Ouattara lost to Flay. Sanchez tied Morimoto, and Symon lost to him. The other two (Jill Davie and Gavin Kaysen) have never been on ICA.

    I was surprised that half of the chefs are from California (2 from San Francisco, one from San Diego, and one a neighbor here in Santa Monica).

    With all the junk FN is adding to their schedule (“Have Fork Will Travel”; “Glutton for Punishment” and “Two Dudes Cooking”), I really am looking forward to seeing these talented chefs showcasing their skills (and some good commentary–not “It’s absolutely delicious”).

    Note re: Rocco….Even Orson Wells did commercials. Rocco has burned out on cooking and (like the much-admired Bourdain) is building a new career. Talented or not, he really doesn’t owe any of us anything!

  • beth

    I had to share this story somewhere and this just seemed like the place.

    I came across the train wreck that is Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee this morning. (Full disclosure so foodies can judge me: I’m not opposed to the concept but I always end up opposed to her execution.) She was remaking Tyler Florence and Emeril recipes so I decided to go online and see how hers differed from the originals. I ended up getting addicted to the user ratings of her recipes- a seriously entertaining way to waste time. From my unscientific sample, it seems like a lot of people either a) hate them or b) think they are too complicated.

    But then I found this rating. This lovely, perfect, blessed rating for a peach cocktail that is great because you know this person was so sincere.

    First the cocktail, a “Florence Fizzy”:,1977,FOOD_9936_67213,00.html

    Now see the post titled “Different”,1973,FOOD_9919_67213,00.html

    They talked a butcher for goodness sakes! How could this not work out?

    Based on this, can I suggest you add a “Fan Favorite” sort of category to the awards for the person in America who most needs to step away from the Food Network, turn on PBS and open a cook book? Oh, and maybe visit a wine or liquor store too…

  • Carri

    Just so you know…I wasn’t really questioning your ethics…I have infinite respect for you, man! I just finished ‘Reach of a Chef’…great take on the both the big picture and the realities as we face them in this industry…definitely put me in my place!

  • Uncle Hulka

    Hey Ruhlman!

    Enough with all this food talk crap!

    Brownies are 2-2!!!

    (Should be 3-1, damnit).

  • Tags

    Live a thousand years! Is that the kind of mean stuff you said to poor Andrew? No wonder Alton says you almost came to blows ;-).

  • Tags

    Brownies should be 4-0, unless Freakizona is for real. Oh well, 14-2 is better than nothing.

  • Candice

    Beth- I laughed so hard at that I literally almost fell out of my chair- WTF!? What a delish, meaty, cocktail! Where do these people come from? I could barf in my mouth at the thought of the meat-tastic concoction this woman made and apparently, drank.

  • Uncle hulka

    Oh, ye of little faith!!!!

    This is the time of Browns season when they vanquish all foes!!!

    Cincinatti! Baltimore! Next week, New Engl…


    You’re right.

  • Tags

    In the ratings, nobody follows hockey – they’re at the end of the list (or on the bottom, if that sounds better.)

  • WhatisCanadianCuisine?

    Why low quality and not high quality? I would love to see the winner’s reactions and the pre-awards show.

    If its bandwidth you need, I can host ’em on my servers.

  • Neal L.

    No offense to the Browns or their lovely fans, but I hope that they discontinue their winning ways. We have your #1 draft pick next year and I was hoping that we could pick high.

  • gb500

    The mystery of Sandra Lee has been solved — she’s from Puyallup. Need I say more?

  • Snoozer

    Brownies…. dark and deep, not too sweet, moist without being undercooked. No chocolate chip, but nice pecans or walnuts, or even a swirl of cream cheese.

    Question: frosting on brownies? Yay or Nay? Must be intensely chocolate, I think.

    I may have to do some baking tomorrow.

  • JoP in Omaha

    I enjoyed the AB interview about The Next Iron Chef. And it’s cool that this week FN is airing the competitors’ previous Iron Chef battles. I’m really looking forward to The Next Iron Chef…it’ll be fun to see you in action, Ruhlman. And it’s very cool that the series’ airing coincides with the release of Elements. Is that good karma or what?

  • Frances

    For Snoozer, this is a good all-around dense chocolate frosting:
    4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
    4 oz butter
    2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    1/3 cup milk
    2 teasp. vanilla extract

    Melt butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over very low heat until smooth. Add sugar and milk, beat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer pan to a large bowl of ice, then beat vigorously until you get the consistancy you want.

    (revised recipe from The Betty Crocker Cookbook, 1978 edition – I added more chocolate and butter)

  • Charlotte

    Has anyone noticed that a lot of the good people from the early days of the Food Network seem to have moved to the Fine Living channel? I’ve seen Mario, Michael Chiarello, and Ming just in the last day or so — and thus far, I haven’t heard a single “tablescape” mentioned …

  • Drew

    Prosciutto and peaches are such a great pairing, I just don’t see what the problem is! Actually, I find the carnivorous version of the recipe sounds much more palatable than anything SD has ever put together.

    I think I’ll try it tonight – if my butcher can slice the Prosecco thin enough.


  • tokyoastrogirl

    After having been exposed once again to Rocco’s new plastic face yet AGAIN on the Today show this morning, I am so freakin’ happy to see that someone is calling this guy out. To me, he’s just a pimp- he only wants the glory of the spotlight and nothing more. Does the guy even have a restaurant to cook in these days??? Look- I understand that other chefs use the media to expand their empires and gain fortune in the process, but they are spreading the gospel- Mario, Tony, Cora- they are teaching people about the foods, travels and experiences they are passionate about. Oh wait- I guess Rocco is doing that too- he’s passionate about his face.

  • Phil

    “may you live a thousand years” Michael, this quote reminds me of the movie Joe vs. The Volcano when Joe (Tom Hanks) goes on his shopping spree and buys the 4 extra large super high quality trunks. Whereupon the salesman, says: may you live a thousand years. Although the movie was okay, the shopping spree with Hanks and Ozzie Davis was superb!

  • OahuFoodNut

    Hey Michael~hope you enjoyed judging “The Next Iron Chef”! I don’t know if I would have felt comfortable critiquing a chef previously profiled in one of my books (i.e. Soul of a Chef: Michael Symon). Waiting for Sunday,

  • CriminalDawnCook

    Re: Sandra Lee being from Puyallup

    What does that have to do with anything? Yes, it’s a standard bastard stepchild of a larger city and exists purely as a location for the new Super Center Wal-Mart (aka Satan) and for people to live in so they don’t have to say they live in Tacoma. Um. Nevermind. That explains it all.

    On the plus side, Puyallup does have an excellent butcher.

  • CriminalDawnCook

    I’ll have to agree with you there Claudia. Have you been to Butcher Boys out in Puyallup? It’s the saving grace of that rathole full of yuppies and wannabes.

  • gb500

    Oooh goody — another reason to return to my ancestral home. Can’t wait to check out Butcher Boys. And you’re right, Puyallup does indeed beat Fife any day.

  • bob

    It’s official…Puyallup and Fife have been mentioned more here than anywhere on the web ever. I guess everyone has to live somewhere! I can’t help but think, however that out of the whole lot she would be the one that my mother would be the most impressed with. No wizardry, no brilliance, just a small town pretty girl opening up a box of anything, stirring in some miracle whip, and feeding the whole family. Having fed Bourdain a couple of times would have been lost, but,…Sandra Lee…what a nice girl!

  • FoodPuta

    you can go on and on about Puyallup and Fife, but if you want to discuss the true culinary hot-bed and cultural epicenter of Washington. Then look only as far as Buckley. 410 Cafe?, Wallys drive-in?


  • gb500

    OK, on my next motorcycle ride out to Orting I’ll stop the 410 Cafe. Anything else in the Valley worth checking out?

  • CriminalDawnCook

    I must admit I have not been to the 410 Cafe…hell, I’ve only been to Buckley as the stop to buy groceries before camping in Carbonado before last year’s storms. I’ll drag the husband out there one of these days.

    I take that back- I bought a truckload of firewood there once too.

    Don’t forget the food-based cultural pilgrimage this weekend known as the Steilacoom Apple Press.

  • Larry In Lethbridge

    Sorry for the intrusion. I need a quick question asnwered and I see many of you are helpful to one another. We see Top Chef here in Canada, although itis about 3 months later than US Bravo airings.

    Tom Colicchiocomes off as a real dick at times. Actually pretty much all of the time.

    Even though Tom is married, do you think he might be a closetpoofter as only poofters can act that way?

  • hubsmithross

    Would of liked to of seen Chef Lynn Kennedy-Tylou cook for the challange.. Making of a chef!

  • Stxfoodie

    Re Coliccio – didn’t Ted Alan mention that Coliccio is an icon in the ‘bear community’……

  • Claudia

    Icon is one thing, actual poofter is another. Judy Garland was an icon to drag queens nationwide, but she was straight, last time we heard.

    Tom is from Elizabeth, NJ – maybe being bred on PCBs and emissions and all the fumes from neighboring oil distilleries makes him a “dick” (I don’t think he is), but it doesn’t necessarily make him a “poofter”. Oh, I’m sorry – the crack about NJ is SUCH a New York thing to say (but then again, NJ thinks we’re a bunch of dicks, anyway!)